20th Century Boys is about a group of men (and one woman) who, when they had been children, had been best friends, sharing a "secret base" in an overgrown field: a sanctuary where they could read manga, listen to music, and hide from the most evil twins in history, Yanbo and Mabo. One day, their "creative genius," Kenji suggested they bury a time capsule, fill it with their treasured possessions, and agree to unearth it only when the earth was in grave danger, for they would then save it.
Years later, they find themselves leading ordinary, unglamorous lives, their dreams of greatness long-buried under the dust
of adult pragmatism. But then strange deaths caused by a mysterious virus begin occurring, and murders and disappearances occur one after another. Then one of their number becomes one of the dead, and all the clues point Kenji to a mysterious man who calls himself "Tomodachi (Friend)," who uses as his sign a symbol known only to Kenji's circle of friends.
As the scale of damage and the number of deaths rapidly increase, Kenji realizes that all the terrors are occurring as he had once set down on paper, in a story he and his friends had written, and buried in the time capsule they had sworn over.
20th Century Boys is difficult for me to summarize without giving too much away, but even if I were to divulge half of its secrets, we would still not be anywhere near solving the mystery of "Friend" and of his motives.
At first glance, 20thCB seems to be a crude shounen manga that would probably not appeal to everyone, judging by the artwork alone. But it is not. True, there are no pretty boys or girls to easily fangirl (or boy) over in this series, but this kind of story does not need exaggerated, surreal beauty in its artwork to survive. This truly is a graphic novel, where the plot moves with speed, certainty, and intelligence rather than rely on hundreds of feathers and cherry blossoms to depict angst and drama. The art is actually pretty polished as well, the inking clean and deliberate, and the panels arranged simply but effectively. Like movies these days, many manga artists tend to rely on "special effects" or glamorous art rather than plot to attract readers, but 20thCB has enough plot that any eye candy would just be a bonus.
Character development in 20thCB is also something I liked. Kenji grows and changes as the series progresses, and so do the other characters. The dynamics between the friends are believable, and their heroism so simple and understated.
I can't really find much to say about this manga, simply because it's so good and interesting and I probably wouldn't be able to do it much justice. But if you're looking for a fast-paced intelligent plot, masterfully created characters, and a mystery that can have you at the edge of your seat, then give this series a chance.
While the whole "saving the world" kind of storyline isn't anything new, it does it so well that it makes the reader so engrossed in the story and not want to stop reading. The switch between timelines are done so well that it hardly leaves you confused on what is going on. There are so many twist and turns in the story which makes nearly every chapter such an enjoyable read.
The art is quite detailed and even as the art was already quite good from the start, as it goes on it steadily improves. I have to say Urusawa's distinct art style definitely is
growing on me as it's such a refreshing treat compared to the sea of "Moe" that is pretty common in anime and manga.
My favourite aspect of 20th Century Boys has to be the cast of characters and their development through out the story. All of them have interesting traits and everyone was given a time to shine.
There isn't much cliched character archetypes here, most of the characters act mostly realistically so no annoying tsunderes etc. One example would be Yoshitsune as at the beginning he would seem like one of those stereotypical anime characters with glasses which are usually really weak and cowardly but it turns out he was the one that really stood up for his friends and always tried to do everything to help them.
The main character, Kenji seemed like the most "normal" out of all the characters, while some people would find him boring and they'd probably like Otcho (Kenji's best friend) more but honestly there isn't anyone more suited that him to be the main character since he's the most normal and easiest to relate to.
I saw 20th Century Boys ranked quite highly here in MAL and I'm glad I gave it a chance. It's truly a masterpiece in my eyes. It's highly recommendable and I can't even say it enough you HAVE to check this manga out. After finishing it I literally just took my time thinking about what an amazing manga I just read.
Also how can you not want to read a manga that has a villian called Friend and a homeless guy called God.
20th Century Boys is a Seinen, Sci-fi, Psychological manga that takes storytelling to a whole new level.
From the beginning of the manga it is already clear what already happened and so the story just basically reveals, bit by bit, explaining the events that took place. However you have to be prepared for some major plot twists. What is so interesting about the story, is that it is set in different timelines (Childhood Era, Adult Era and Friend Era), which gives more insight into the characters and events that took place. However it is very hard to follow these different timelines, because it feels like reading
a story within a story. Yet after a while it is easy to get used to it and there are plenty of plot twist and unexpected surprises a long the way.
The characters of 20th Century Boys are an essential part of the story, because it is basically about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Even though the characters may not be well defined, in the beginning, they are incredibly well developed. The only problem is that there are a lot of characters to remember and a lot of different timelines to keep track of them in.
The artwork is pretty amazing as it has the same sketchy style as Urasawa’s other works. The environments have a lot of detail put into them and the only problem I just that the character designs can be too sketchy. This means that subtle changes in facial expressions can be unnoticed; on the other hand the characters have well defined facial features that allows you to tell them apart, once you get used to it.
Overall 20th Century Boys is a manga that brings a whole new meaning to regular people trying to save the world, from evil villains? As I started this manga I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t know why it was so popular, but I’m glad I found out. However from reading this manga I have learned the terrible truth; Good will not always prevail over Evil. That’s what made this manga so frustrating to read, at times, but very addicting at the same time. So if you’re a manga fan, then 20th Century Boys is a must read.
The originality and success of 20th Century Boys owes itself to creator Urasawa Naoki's creativity and drawing talent. This is the kind of manga that you can get excited about and engross yourself in its story. Small boys in a little town dream big about saving the world and becoming defenders of justice, but the one thing they couldn't imagine is how their ideas will end up affecting the future.
The art is great. The characters and environments have a consistent and interesting style, and the drawings are a pleasure to look at. Urasawa-sensei does a great job at keeping the physical look of the characters
consistent and recognizable at different ages. If there are any complaints to be had, it's that a couple of the characters look rather cartoonish compared to the scenery they're placed against, and that some of the women are hard to tell apart.
While 20th Century Boys has a large menagerie of characters, they lack any real personality and are mostly defined by their physical characteristics (i.e. Yoshitsune is timid and has small eyes, Maruo is fat, Keroyon looks like a frog, etc). I fear that the creator was too focused on involving the characters with the plot that the audience is never given time to share in the experience of the characters and connect to them on an emotional level. Even the heroine of the story is never placed in a recognizable human situation (i.e. having a crush, being pressured by school or work, dealing with a friend in trouble). She's just a fearless, determined go-getter, and we can only guess at where her unbridled confidence comes from, since we're never shown. Koizumi is perhaps the only character who acts rationally, and she simply serves as comic relief. I must say that having "normal human behavior" be comical is telling of the story.
The story follows a cyclic pattern of A Revelation / We Save The Day (at least, for now). Since this is a mystery at its core, the Revelations concern clues as to the identity of friend or his next evil plot. The "Who's the culprit? Find out next week!" scenario can be interesting, but it's extended throughout the entire manga and soon becomes tedious. Since there aren't many characters to care about, their actions and speeches more or less pad out the long trip to the closing action of a conflict.
I have a problem with accepting conspiracy theories. It's difficult to believe that so many people in different levels of the plot are "in on" the conspiracy. Even more difficult to explain is the motivations of the conspirators, and moreover, their reasons for not rebelling against the plot or spilling the beans. 20th Century Boys waves a hand over the issue of millions of people blindly following the evil "Friend". There are quite a few plot threads that are left hanging by the end, but ultimately all the audience wants to know the identity and motivations of Friend, and I must say that this is handled brilliantly.
Love, Peace, & Rock'n'Roll
20th Century Boys makes numerous reference to classic American rock bands and world events, such as the lunar landing and Woodstock. Rock reverberates through the story and gives it a unique style. The rock and hippie vibe exuded by 20th Century Boys is perhaps its most endearing trait.
It's hard to say whether the bands mentioned are reflective of Urasawa-sensei's own taste, but he does thrust three manga artists into the story who act as his mouthpiece for the hardships faced by manga artists. They exist to showcase "Friend"'s suppression and censoring of the arts, but for me the mangaka were a constant reminder that I was, in fact, reading a manga. I'm still not sure whether creating such blatantly autobiographical characters is appropriate or distracting, but I will note that the ratio of manga artist characters to main characters is about 1:5.
I don't recommend 20th Century Boys to the passing manga fan. The concept is very interesting and the events of the story are a fun ride, but ultimately it's stretched out to a tedious length. However, if you want to buckle down and enjoy a manga for a while, 20th Century Boys is worth it.
First of all, i apologize if i made any English mistake, Unfortunately, I'm not native speaker, It's also my first. hope it helps you
- 20 Century Boys -
The best manga I've read, I really can't describe the legendary of this manga by words..
It's about a group got involved in a disaster include the whole world. I've read/watched a lot of psychological/drama works, and this is the best one, Also the author of this manga is Monster author too
Naoki's art style is not shounen style, his art is distinct, not like the author, he made a new art style, Personally i prefer his art
than the other. "MOE" fans never would like it, so "MOE" fans don't read it.
The character here is pretty great. all of them even the enemy, all of them have a specified story, especially the psychological of their personalities
i enjoyed this manga a lot, Even i complete it in 3 days, the beginning is little boring, but when you continue it will be great
It's such a legend, Really, as long as you read it you will know what i mean. It's also ranked as sixth, I haven't seen someone read it and dislike it, just give it a chance and read it, I'm sure you'll like it!
I think that for some reason I'm not like most people who go wild for Urusawa's work. I feel the same way about 20CB that I did about Monster, too long, average art, average characters. So I'm not trying to offend anybody, this is just a review from a different perspective.
Story: First of all just like Monster, the story is far too long for its own good. There are 2 or 3 points where it could have been ended satisfactorily, but it lurched back to its feet and kept plodding along for many more volumes.
The contents of the story are very simple. Man
is trying to destroy the world, people try to stop man from destroying the world. To be fair, the fact that I read all the way to the end tells you that Urusawa keeps you wondering what happens next, but god it's such a waste of time. You keep anticipating something mind-blowing, but the only really interesting revelation in the whole story is Friend's identity.
Basically, what we have here is and endlessly drug-out story like Bleach or Naruto without any of the flashy bits or fanservice that make them popular. The moments that make you stand up in your chair and go "hell yeah!" are few and far between. The second half in particular is very blatantly milking it for all it's worth.
Art: Urusawa's art style is unique, but it's not for everybody. Personally I find it very bland and uninteresting. He is particularly good at drawing facial expressions, and he really conveys they characters' emotions well, but as far as manga artists go, he's pretty mediocre.
Character: A symptom of the story being too long, there are too many characters. Because of Urusawa's semi-realistic art style, some of them end up looking really similar and it becomes very confusing by the end. Since there are so many, their personalities are somewhat shallow. The main cast is fairly solid and there are a few likeable characters in there, but I feel like the story would have been served better by a smaller, more interesting cast.
Enjoyment/Overall: I was disappointed, considering how highly-rated this series is. If you're looking for something to kill time, you could do much worse, but I wouldn't recommend putting this very high on your priority list.
This is one of the most engrossing and enjoyable works of fiction I have been lucky enough to experience. Across the mediums of film, literature, or graphic fiction, "20th Century Boys" stands tall as a true joy.
The story will capture your imagination, refusing to let go until you finish. (I read it twice in as many years; both occasions barely allowed me to complete the neccessary tasks of my life for those couple weeks I spent reading.) "20th Century Boys" does not attempt to transcend its melodramatic model, but it is an all-the-more-praiseworthy effort as a result. Simply put, Naoki Urasawa is a master
of melodrama and plays the reader like a puppet. You root for the good guys and hiss at the seamingly unbeatable evils they face.
The great scope of the story lends itself to the enjoyment. It combines the summer antics of school children with twist-and-turn mystery and against-all-odds action that span from the nostalgic '60s to present times and even into the future.You will sink into this massive, expansive, epic world and feel every triumph, loss, joy, and tragedy beset upon its many characters.
On the technical side, Naoki Urasawa's phenomenal cartooning skills lend themselves to every emotional and dramatic turn of his story. Every location and scene distinctly communicates the appropriate tone to ensnare the reader. Even more impressive is the mangaka's character renderings; in a story with too many characters to count, you will know exactly who's who by their distinct features and gestures.
If any complaint about "20th Century Boys" exists, it must be the ending. After such an engrossing, roller coaster of a story, the end seems more like a crashing hault. However, this criticism is unfair; for such a great, epic story, any conclusion would fail to suffice. The real dissappointment is that the story ends at all.
What could be the consequences from a child game ? What could be created by the imagination of children which are craving for adventures.20 Century Boys is a kind of manga which is shining with it's own brilliance and marvelous idea.Created from Naoki Urasawa it really absorbs every reader with it's story.Again the mangaka show us his unique story telling and proves that he is like a "prodigy" in the manga world.He shows us that every memory we have during our years of living is very precious and remembering it we feel like we at the same place where we were as children,when
we were playing with friends,fighting with each other,laughed and most importantly we spent our careless days during our childhood.
The Story of the manga isn't something new,but really it's something special even it the 21 century ;) It's about Kenji and a group of his friends which create their own "shelter" in which they go when they feel anxious or have their own problems.They have a lot of fights with other children,but there they feel protected from everything doesn't matter what is it.While Kenji is there with his friends they are talking to each other a lot and are thinking a lot of stories which they write in a notebook.Even at that time when they are together they don't know that every their action will really change their live sooner or later.Every their word,action or decision really changes their lives.At the beginning of the manga the story is based on Kenji who is has a lot of work and he is having a hard live.His sister gives a birth to a child and leaves.So Kenji have to take care of his niece and turn her into a good person ,who will have a normal life.While struggling with his position in life he notices a number of events that remind him of his childhood and not after a while he gets involved in a great adventure with a lot of plot twists.
The art of the manga is fantastic.It's the well known style of the manga artist.The characters are drawn simply,but in the same time they are very detailed.The artwork is really on a very high level and not even for a moment there is something even at the background that is drawn bad.Really the consistency of the art is breathtaking.The main characters aren't made with gigantic breasts or big muscles,but after a few chapters you couldn't see them drawn in another way they are so well chosen and well based.
The Characters is making one of the differences with the other mangas in the same genre.Their character development is despite their role in the story isn't slowed up even for a moment in the whole manga.At first glance the main characters don't have the superpowers which could help them with their fight with the "evil",but their have something even better - Charisma.Kenji is one of the best leading characters in the mangas,but he is not the best in the manga the thing that really catches the eyes is the Kanna character.She is one of the most complete woman/girl characters in the whole manga history.She isn't made the kind of girl that could not live without help from somewhere.She is strong and in the same time she's having the brain.She isn't doing something stupid without thinking.Every her action is very well thought before that.
20 century boys is really something you should really have to read.Despite that the volumes are 22 you wouldn't feel for a minute how you are reading chapter after chapter just to understand what is going to happen at the end.
First of all I will apologize for the mistakes I could make, I'm not a native speaker so it isn't always easy for me to speak in a foreign langage.
Story : 10/10
I know 10 isn't really objective but if I had to choose one manga for my entire life I think it is this one. I'm not going to explain the story, it isn't really useful. I just want to say that the author have developed perfectly the story, there isn't one mistake in it. There is a lot of suspense and it's not by accident that the author is called "the master of
suspense". 20th Century Boys is passionating, I never have read à manga like this. It is not boring and the story doesn't stagnate.
Art : 8/10
Personally, when I saw for the first time the character design I was really doubtful. That's why I think an 8 is a good note. In fact, when you look more carefully you can notice the beauty of the art. There are so much details and the face of the characters approximates to the reality. I know this don't please to everybody but if the design stopped you just take time to look closely.
Character : 10/10
All the characters are interesting, they all have a story to tell. None is useless, none is a cliché of the traditional protagonists that you find everywhere else, and I think this is an important fact. You can easily identify you as one character, they are like anyone else, they are not superhumans, it could be you !You easily feel attached to each protagonist, even if you don't like one at first you discover something about him that show you that everybody is interessant and have a reason to be who he is. (I know that seems really optimist but it is real)
Overall : 10/10
I have already said it but you just can't be bored with this manga. For me, it is perfect, really. I have nothing bad to tell about it. If you hesitate, stop it now, read it ! If you like psychological thriller 20th Century Boys is perfect to you, you will like it, I promise ! I've never meet someone who don't like it.
Being a fan of T. Rex, I was immediately interested in a book that referenced him in the title. I was even more interested to find out it was by Naoki Urasawa, the genius behind Monster. I started reading it right away, and hardly put it done till I was finished with it, and also finished the sequel right after that. Well there's two things I want to say in the opening paragraph, first is that even though this is an amazing Manga series, I can't help but feel it isn't quite at that level of Monster, and that being said, neither is it the
#1. Certainly it is amazing enough that I don't mind seeing there, but just wanted to say that. Second being a big fan of music, I found the references in this series to be rather shallow. I probably had to big expectations because it referenced T. Rex, the forgotten classic band of the late sixties and seventies, I was thinking it wouldn't carter to the typical references. I expected instead of seeing "just like The Beatles" I could see at least a couple of steps down on the popularity scale, something like "just like Van Morrison" or instead of "just like Bob Dylan" a "just like Leonard Cohen". Sure not as many people would get laughs, but they've already gotten their share of stuff. Basically the references, with the exception of T. Rex, is rather typical references to music giants like Hendrix, Stones, Beatles, Dylan, Mitchell, Doors, etc. That was just another thing I wanted to get out there, in case anyone was thinking something similar to what I was thinking. However, this series is certainly still worth reading, and is an amazing mystery series, filled with plot twists, references, and great characters.
The story in 20th Century Boy is a strange one, and can be quite self-contradicting at times. It revolves around a group of childhood friends (there grown up now) who used to hang out at there secret base, reading Manga, listening to the Radio, and just having fun. One day one of the boys called Kenji decided to start righting his own Manga plot, revolving around a hero who would have to save the world from a virus and a giant robot. A simple childish story at first, however in the future when the events starting happening in reality, and the symbol they used for their fort is being used by a strange cult-like leader called "Friend", Kenji quickly finds out that something is wrong. Being the ones who created it, Kenji and his group of friends that knew about the story (or the ones who he managed to gather), now are the only people who can save the world. A save the world plot, that quickly contradicts itself with characters referencing that they can't just be ride out there and be a hero, like in Shounen stories. It quickly moves itself into being an amazing plot, with one big question, who is Friend?
As much as I loved the series though, and Friend himself, Friend is one of the my major complaints about the series. I understand people like Kenji and his friends reason for going against Friend, but what about Friend? Is he just some freak that wants to have fun, so he starts killing of people and trying to put an end to the world. I wanted to feel more of a back-story from Friend than him just having a little fun by killing people and watching other people try to stop him. To me along with the shallow music references, it was one of the letdowns of an amazing story, and seemed rather a pointless villain, even though I can't help but love a crazy guy who makes people call him Friend. Some people might not care about a back-story, but I guess that just comes down to a matter of opinion.
The art was probably the best part of this series, if I base it off of my ratings that is. The art was wonderfully drawn, moments like the first two pages of Chapter 100, not only stand out in my mind for the amazing script, but the drawing was beautiful to behold. Most of the characters didn't even look that great, but I still found myself stopping the reading for a second to gaze upon the beautiful drawings in the Manga, and I never got tired of doing it. Even now I love going back and looking at Chapter 100, the mysterious aura, the music reference, and the great drawings all tied together, and it helped give it that feeling of greatness, and is one of my favorite things about it.
The characters are another one of my favorite parts of the story, though I seem to be saying that for everything. The main character, though absent for a good amount of the series, is a great lead. If there is one line that I remember in that show, it will be what he said to the young guitarist at the crossroads. The other character's also prove to be great characters, from the strange villain of Friend and his twisted and confused servants, the group of childhood friends, and most notably, the hobo called God. God is one of the best characters of the entire series, and his mix of humor and foresight, plus the name, makes him always entraining when he shows up. That's not to say we don't have problems, as I said sometimes the Villains can seem rather pointless, one of my biggest dislikes of the series. However even if they seem pointless, I can't deny that they have some great moments, and if they did have a reason, then I would probably have loved them.
20th Century Boy is a story that has it all, great art, unique and great story, amazing scripting, great characters, amusing references, and most importantly, is just an extremely enjoyable read. As I stated before I can't say I agree with the #1 ranking that is given to on this site, but I don't mind, because Urasawa, once again, presented us with a great story filled with mystery, thrills, drama, and those little hints at other genres like Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, etc. It's all there, and 20th Century Boy is certainly worth reading.
Well... A long ride but it was worth it.
I'm honestly surprised that this manga never got an anime adaptation, it would have been an amazing anime to see.
One of the best traits this manga has is variety of well developed characters.
We've got Kenji, a breath of fresh air among the main characters, he doesn't have super power, he doesn't have actual influence to go against Friend, yet he has the determination that can rival pretty much any main character out there. Virus, giant robot, and the weapon of choice for the main character, the guitar. Hands down unique and badass.
Kanna, who we've seen as a
mere child growing into an adult defying the opinion of the society. The faith, determination, compassion, she has it all, yet even with all that she has such a fragile and human side to her and is simply so well balanced character.
Finally the main villain, Friend, the only reason this didn't get a ten out of ten from me is this very character being 'revived' way too many times. Though it does give off a certain sense of reality, even with the cause gone the seed remains.
I found the art to be quite enjoyable, especially once I got used to it.
Pacing is quite good as well, at some points it's clear that not a single page has been wasted and even the most minor characters get their role in the world.
Story isn't the most unique one, but as far as I've seen it's been executed in a quite unique way, it incorporated morals, beliefs, feelings and life itself into it's pages, while reading the most memorable moments stay with you for a long time, you may even think back to them once you see something similar, I know I have from time to time.
Do I recommend reading this manga, of course, give it a try, the first couple of chapters may be a bit boring to some people, but once this manga takes a hold of the reader it doesn't let go.
20th century boys is very different for all I ever saw, you have a couple of guys living in a "adult world", but is the type of a children mind, the capacity of the "friend" persuade people is very high, but in fact, the people are easiest persuaded, like ONU, the first minister of Japan. The world is to idiot, the people don't think and follow a crazy man who didn't show his face, who convinced them just making a couple of magic tricks.
The minority part of people, who have a behavior like a real adult, it's the "resistance?" part of that world,
and we have the main characters of the history fighting the "friend", they think like a real "adult" they try to fight like a real "adult, but they never won.
So, in the end of history we have this part of the real "adult" making a change, they start to act like adult of the mind of children, and the "friend" start losing the war. So, what's the deal of that??
I think the manga 20th century boys it's a tribute to the manga industry, who made part of the life of much of the children, mostly in Japan. The good guys of history just starting won the fight when they enter in play, like a prank evening in a Sunday.
We have many "Easter eggs" of the other titles, like the "master" who trains Ochiai, like the mostly part of the action histories, always have a mysterious master who trains the good guy.
I recommend the history, it's very different, but it's made incredible good, you start to believe, "that" world it's possible, can happen, you enter in that crazy "prank evening", and you going to leave very satisfied.
Just when I thought there couldn't exist something better than Monster, I was surprised by how far superior Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys is. Sadly no anime adaptation exists for this manga yet. And I could only hope that in the current era where old works are being revived , this may get an anime adaptation soon.
The Plot : 10/10
Just Perfect ! Multi-layered stories with a switch back and forth through timelines without ever feeling out of place , This is a story that is perfectly executed with lots of suspense and intense to the fullest. The childish cover may dismiss a lot of people
from reading it , but the content is very very mature. I have never seen such a perfectly executed story in a manga before, I am still quite surprised that this is a manga not a story in 3-part book for example, also another thing that I adored is the variety this manga offered , which I think is the key to success to any long running manga. It is true that the last third is a little weaker than the the first two thirds , but let me say that these first two thirds are just way out of league .
The Characters 10/10:
Loads of characters have been introduced and all of them made an impact in this manga, also about 95% of these characters have been fleshed out fully. It's very easy to relate to them and their characters. and I liked them all . Kenji , Kanna , Yoshitsune , Otcho , Fukubei , Mon-chan , Yukiji , Kami , Manjoume, Donkey , Keroyon . just a few off my mind right now but I didn't really hate any characters. I also liked how he introduced a lot of characters and he made it work and gave them their own personalities with their own way of thinking.
The Art 9/10
Naoki Urasawa's distinctive art strikes again , which is very useful in drawing the facial expressions and unlike with Monster this time character designs do not look recycled at all. And there is a big improvement in the art style in this manga over Monster.
Also check out the Reception this manga got.
20th Century Boys has 36 million tankōbon copies in circulation, was the third top-selling manga series of 2008, and the ninth top-selling of 2009. The series has also won numerous awards, including the 2001 Kodansha Manga Award in the General category, an Excellence Prize at the 2002 Japan Media Arts Festival, the 2003 Shogakukan Manga Award in the General category, and the first ever Angoulême International Comics Festival Prize for a Series in 2004. It also won the Grand Prize at the 37th Japan Cartoonists Association Awards, and the Seiun Award in the Comic category at the 46th Japan Science Fiction Convention, both in 2008. The series won the 2011 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material in the Asia category for Viz Media's English releases, and won the same award again in 2013. It was nominated twice, 2010 and 2013, for the Harvey Award in the Best American Edition of Foreign Material category, and three years in a row, 2010-2012, for the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series.
Manga critic Jason Thompson called 20th Century Boys "an epic saga of nostalgia, middle age, rock n' roll, and a struggle against an evil conspiracy." He compared the story to several novels by Stephen King, such as It, where "a group of childhood friends who reunite as adults to deal with leftover issues from their childhood manifested in monstrous form." Thompson wrote that despite being a seinen manga aimed at an older audience, the series gained fans of all ages for its great premise, storytelling and the mystery behind Friend.
Carlo Santos of Anime News Network felt the pacing of the series should have been quicker, but praised the intricate and interconnecting plot and its twists, as well as the well-developed characters. He also noted Urasawa's art and dialogue, saying "it takes real skill to build a story as multi-layered as this one and still have it make sense as the characters explain things".
Overall 9.7 /10
Ceiling 9.7 is 10
So it is a 10/10(Masterpiece)
SHOCKER!!!:Story isnt ORIGINAL!!!!!!!!. but tbh the story is your generic insane cult working in the shadows to try to take over the world and an unlikely hero which has virtually zero chance at stopping the mad cult will try to protect humanity. as generic as that might seem the execution with that story is wonderful and the first 50 chapters are by far the greatest piece of literature I've ever seen. the first 50 chapters had a great main character, exciting drama, great backstory, solid villain (for at least 50 chapters) and so on. The problem is the nosedive (in my opinion) the series takes
for the rest of the time period. Kanna is nowhere near as cool and epic as kenji was,the drama and thriller downgardes,the manga becomes slower,story breaking unanswered questions (how does kenji manage to escape friend on new years eve 2000 and how does the altercation end between kenji and friend) , introduced characters not being as strong as the first arc were, and just overall got worse. The story is still solid though but they shouldve just ended it with an extension to the first arc but getting Ca$h Monie$ is always a priority
Art was nothing special. Literally nothing special about it. gave it the most borderline grade i could
Kill Yourself.Thats what i hear when i say "Character:7".and honestly i dont like saying that sentence either because if they just ended with an extension to the first arc this would be a solid 9.but thats only in a perfect world and tbh im being nice to this series. For being a significant size shorter,Monster was able to create a perfect,complex,entertaing,and badass villian that is many times better than friend. Friend, for being the major villian and being the most important character in the second arc, is the most underdeveloped character in this manga and MAYBE manga altogether. Friend basically has no backstory and his first identity was pathetic and his second one is ( i dont know if i skipped that page cause there is no way in hell they could if done this) UNKNOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.If that isnt bad enough he actually doesnt have much dialogue/screen time either in the 2nd arc which just makes him more of a wimp. Other than that, the characters were all solid.I didnt like Kanna to much mainly cause the drop in quality from the "God of Normal Main Characters living in a Utterly Realistic World" to her. and Otcho was pretty bada$$ as well
I was going to put this in the story/characters section but i saw so much to write about i had to create a new section. This ending was what MAL describes as "poor" and thats what im going by. This ending was poor.(THIS IS OBVIOUSLY GONNA HAVE SPOILERS SO YOU DONT GIMME DAT BS SAYING I DIDNT WARN YOU).First of all what the hell is Kanna doing at a concert??? This is her last conflict with friend so why is she hosting a concert. Better yet she is UNCONSCIOUS during the final encounter.This is majorly pathetic knowing the fact that Kanna is the main character for more of the show than kenji was and yet she isnt even awake when the final showdown takes place. I expected her to learn something about her "bending spoons" superpower that would be used to finish off friend and could give off some good character development and backstory off of it,BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOO( too many caps doe but no fishes given) instead we get a suicide bomber who is basically a forgotten character for much of the series to risk his life to conveniently crash the ufo on top of friend to save the day(the hype that ufo had was unbelievable and for it to end as quickly as it did is just unethical). And on top of that, what was with friend? he seemed so weak and pathetic leading to the showdown and for him to die the way he did TWICE is just sad. And why did all the characters come back 4 the end? the series seemed as if it couldnt let go of all the characters that shoulda died or at least where forgotten so it just jammed them all together to make a weird and a bit forced ending. And friend deals with many problems at the end as well such as:having a weak sendoff, no mask reveal, master plan that he planed 4 years got shutdown in one weak blow, no revealed backstory, no revealed motivations, and just being wayyyy to overhyped for what he actually brought to the table and such making this ending "poor"
Goddamn im tired from all this writing so im just gonna say for me the first 50 chapters were enough to give it a 9
first arc was a 10. second was a 6. average that out and you get 8. First 50 chapters are definitely worth reading and after that you can decide where to go from there
Don't be fooled, this manga is full of flaws.
Don't get discouraged, this manga is full of epic moments.
Don't get too excited, you can write everything that happens in this manga in such a way that it becomes obvious how formulaic it was.
Infinitely better than Monster, though, and I say that really being objective.
20th Century Boys has a lot of nonsense that's there to lead to great payoffs. Monster has nonsense that leads nowhere.
I remember this manga especially because of this:
-You anounce what you are going to do
-You go ahead and do it
-Everybody who heard you the first time is still very surprised because you did
it to perfection, or in such a way that you turned it on its head while remaining true to your initial announcement.
It's hard to put that in a better way without spoilers.
Bottomline, it's a nice manga with great moments that maybe didn't deserve the goosebumps I got when I read them, but goosebumps I got nontheless.
20th century boys may seem as a standard manga in the beginning. Saving the world doesn't sound as the most outstanding theme for a manga. But the mangaka of this series, which wrote 'monster' too, is a genius and it seems that everything he touches turns gold.
Perhaps the manga is so good because the story is not really about saving the world, but about friendship and youth memories. Bonds with old friends and how every person has his own qualities. The many side-characters are all like real people, with real lives and etc.And what makes this maga very special are all the 'memories'. In
these flashbacks you see the characters when they were young. This really makes you understand and love them more.
About the story: As I said it is about saving the world. Someone in Kenji's (Kenji is the main character) youth has become a psycopath. Who is it? Who is this bad guy who calls himself 'friend'? That question really keeps you reading and reading. Untill you finally'll know who it is. And after that moment, the time skips fifteen years further. I don't want to spoil anything, but after a certain moment when the story is about the future, the whole serie loses his power. There isn't any tension anymore. Some characters who were lost get found and that is really fun to read, but the stoy just loses his tension. The mystery seems solved and there isn't anything you want to know anymore. It still was a good read, but compared to rest of the manga it is just worse.
The art was really realistic and not fantasy-like. I didn't bother because this was a serious manga. There were some nice pictures and everything was drawn realistic. Not very special, the artist didn't made an own world for this manga. But it was still very nice drawn and o.k.
The Characters were outstanding and the best part of this manga. It were the characters that made this manga so fantastic. You'll love them and nearly cry when someone is about to die or whatever. After reading this, I feel like I've made new friends, no matter how lifeless that may sound.
I enjoyed reading this, altough the story in the last part of the manga is little worse than the rest. But still worth a 9, certainly!!!!!
More like 22 (+2) volumes of blue balls.
20th Century Boys promises a lot, shows the most exciting teases and engrossing demonstrations but all the build up is hardly worth a damn when nothing comes after.
I held off from reviewing this until reading 21st Century Boys since that seemed to be the real conclusion to the story and while is does a better job of giving some closure it's still awful.
Art: one of the few things that are absolutely impeccable about this manga. Urasawa is good or nearly perfect at everything that comprises the visual aspect of the manga. His characters fit right
into the world with their appearance, with normal and grounded deisgns they appear extremely human. It accomplishes two things, first if all it makes the story appear more realistic and second it ascribes depth to characters without even writing anything. Now I wouldn't call most characters in 20CB particularly multi-layered or well developed but their appearance is a lot of the time enough to assume their personality. Some faces show wear and tear after decades of hard or just miserable living while others give away that everyone is cranium department is on paid leave for the foreseeable future. You look at these characters and you can already assume who they are and how they act just cause you can likely find someone to compare them to in real life unless your flat is your universe and venturing outside seems like too dangerous of an idea. This description might make it seem like Urasawa is some genius of photorealism but while his backgrounds and inanimate objects look very realistic, his characters are anything but. They are cartoony and often exaggerated to highlight their defining features yet the range of emotion and human expressions on character faces is incredibly lifelike.
Also worth mentioning is fluidity with which everything moves. Urasawa is amazing at depicting movement, force and momentum so every time any of that is involved it's a joy to see. This talent also bleeds into paneling and helps pacing tremendously. Panels are done is such a way that scenes and particular actions never stay on page longer than they should, making the viewer to over pages with speed that a relative match to what happens in the story. Even dring drawn out dialogues he usually never overloads any page with too much dialogue, spreading it out so that the flow is always consistent.
Story: 20CB is the worst thing I've read by Urasawa and a massive disappointed overall. It's a mystery with build up and suspense of unparalleled intensity but what was the point of it? The actual mystery and resolution to it sucked. I'm gonna assume here you've read 21CB cause if you haven't then you didn't actually finish this manga.
I will make a note of how brilliantly done the perpetual cycle of reveal and further mystery is done. Every other chapter we learn something new while also getting to ask new and intriguing questions. Questions so interesting that they make thousands upon thousands greedily go through chapter after chapter just so that their curiosity is satisfied. This means Urasawa succeeds . He made you care for characters and care for what happens to them and their world. He made a mystery so interesting that no matter how drown out and repetitive his very formulaic plot progression is the readers still ask for more.
I will also note that while this all sounds amazing, it all falls apart in the end. Me and many other people will probably agree that despite all his flaws, Urasawa is an excellent writer, meticulously introducing new plot threads and having them carefully tie into overarching story which makes this manga all the more peculiar.
So many characters are introduced simply as convenient plot tools that push things forward and then fall dead or fade from relevance. This relates not only to some minor characters either. The circle of Kenji's gang seems to grow bigger and bigger all the time. Other group of children related to antagonists gain a new member just before the end and that (from this description) seemingly minor character is actually the big bad himself.
Think this is appropriate time to say that the Friend, the main driving point of this mystery is simply awful. I can't go in much depth without spoilers but I'll generalise my problem with them is that not only their motivation is rediculous but they're not even an actual character with nothing, absolutely nothing else.
I saw the point how the childish reason behind a huge chunk of planet bleeding to death is a brilliant thematic tie in of how children tend to overdramatize things, how they take silly things seriously and don't know how to finish stories but I think that's trash. Even if this was more than a theory sparked by hard to process gap between terrible writing of the last stretch of the manga and Urasawa's talent, even if it was more than that, what's the point to it? This virtually non-existent theme is not doing any favors to the story so why bother, what's there to praise? Nothing.
Another thing is paranormal and psychological elements of the manga.
First of all everything related to precognition, telekinesis and everything else supernatural is just there to make sense of the plot without bothering to make Friend's plan make sense in a real word. How did he gather so much power and people devoted to him to an extent that they will kill heretics or give birth to his children? "Charisma" and other "esp" garbage, it's never actually explained or used outside of convenient situations so why bother. There are two events that make more sense of his popularity but even then, the entire humanity here is a supremely impressionable bunch. I think if they heard war of the worlds radio it would end with mobilizing military and launching nukes into space instead of a mere "panic".
Finally my last point is that it just drags on too long, much like this review at this point Urasawa just keeps coming up with the new "real" threat until reaching some arbitrary goal.
The result: jumbled mess of a story with screw all instead of conclusion.
Fun factor: if you're into mysteries for the ride alone, give this a shot, you'll love it more than you might expect. If you prefer the ride had a point and went towards a certain destination I'm not sure there's anything here for you. While most of this manga was a thrill, the ending is so bad that if I knew beforehand I probably wouldn't bother reading it.
Ladies and gentlemen allow me to introduce you to one of the greatest manga I have ever read and also by the one of the most innovative mangaka in recent history. Yes I'm talking about '20th century boy' by Naoki Urasawa. Now before I review you this great piece of art I must mention that before reading this manga I was a sucker for shounen-type mangas, I used to be crazy about them and thought that no manga could ever overwhelm them but shounen mangas like naruto,bleach are never-ending so I gave 20th century boy a chance cause it was short and I read alot
of great reviews about it and boy oh boy was I surprised.
Not only did this manga went beyond my expectations it soon became my favourite manga beating naruto and bleach by a long shot. Frankly speaking I was a bit skeptical judging this manga by the character art and the story. The main character was NOT a charming or an attractive young man or woman no the main character was a normal average joe and even the female characters weren't that attractive but soon after reading the first few chapters I realised that the art,background of the story is what makes this manga so damn good. The biggest factor which pulled me towards this manga was the story and the way Naoki Urasawa portrays it, its just outstanding,fascinating and simply breath-taking. The unpredictability of this manga is one of its stronger points and frankly speaking I read the chapters back to back and I didn't find any part boring, I was completely engrossed in this series. Readers would keep guessing who is 'friend' (the main antagonist) till the end and won't be disappointed. I wont ruin the story for you guys, I just wrote this review to encourage people to read this manga.
I ahve no idea why a manga like this one hasn't been turned into an anime series. If you like 'Monster' which is also by the same author then 20th Century Boy won't disappoint you at all!
20th century boys is drawn by its artist, Urasawa, from 1999 until 2006. However, the manga give the impression of perhaps 70’s and 80’s art style. The artist employed what seemed like “an older generation” of characters designs. The main characters ARE drawn like ordinary citizens, without the flawless handsome features for men and oval-shaped face for beautiful women. In fact, the main characters are drawn so like ordinary citizens that I almost quit this manga.
Artistic quality of the work aside, the contents of story in 20th century boys are innovative, complex, and involves a lot of flashbacks. The readers take a break from
the typical shounen’s protagonist-get-power-and-save-the-world type of plot, and get to enjoy the protagonist, Kenji, solving a conspiracy throughout the manga. What’s more is that this conspiracy relates intimately with Kenji’s family and his elementary school classmates. Thus, Kenji’s journey of trying to solve the entire mystery started. In order to do that, he must ultimately search through the events that happened in his childhood. Although it sounds bizarre, I promise the plot is tasty.
The characters in 20th century boys face many hardships, such as dangers of diving deep into the conspiracy, or even the pressures of everyday life. This is also what makes this manga differ from others. The main characters lack the “hero aura”. I can’t help but respect the main characters, who try to fight against unknown enemies without any special power or overwhelming intelligence. This manga demonstrates that even normal humans can be world-saving heroes, minus the special abilities, the intelligence hacks, and the unbelievable luck.
Overall, whether or not it deserves the 4th place that MAL has given, 20th century boys is a classic that will be remembered for times to come.
This manga is truly a masterpiece. The most beautiful thing about 20th Century Boys is in its telling of story. The basis of the story is "Saving the World" which is simple enough, however the author manages to make this deeper, much deeper. From the moment you pick up this manga and being reading you will be engrossed . The seamless flashbacks and general mysterious feel about the story will keep you wanting more, you'll wish it didn't have to end.
Aside from the story the art is magnificent. The author manages to capture emotion and set tone and mood not
only in the dialogue but also in his drawings. You can see clearly the angst, sorrow, despair, or happiness drawn in, which in my opinion does a great deal to get emotionally involved with the characters.
The Characters themselves are probably the second best best thing about the 20th Century Boys. Urasawa Naoki manages to create 3 Dimensional characters which you can feel for. Each get their enough "screen time" for you to feel for every individual. These characters go through changes and arcs, their highs and lows, the character development in this manga is beautifully done.
I hope you'd enjoy this manga as much as I did. As I stated before, the 20th Century Boys is highly engrossing and somewhat addictive. The pace and constant new information will keep you guessing and will never supply a dull moment.
Overall I would have to say, in my humble opinion, that this is one of the greatest manga yet to be written. Ten out of ten stars. Do yourself a favor a read it.